Sleep and Breathing

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 803–810 | Cite as

Usefulness of the Berlin Questionnaire to identify patients at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea: a population-based door-to-door study

  • Kyunghun Kang
  • Ki-Soo Park
  • Ji-Eun Kim
  • Sung-Wan Kim
  • Young-Teak Kim
  • Jung-Soo Kim
  • Ho-Won LeeEmail author
Original Article



The Berlin Questionnaire (BQ) is a useful tool to identify the high-risk group for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in the primary care sites or hospital, but the usefulness of the BQ to identify the high-risk group for OSA in the general population has not been evaluated. The purpose of our study was to develop the Korean version of the BQ (KBQ) and evaluate the usefulness of the BQ in identifying patients with OSA in the general population.


A total of 1,305 subjects were included in a population-based door-to-door cross-sectional study. For validation of the KBQ, an overnight polysomnography (PSG) was performed on 101 subjects who were randomly selected considering their age, sex, and risk group classification at a controlled sleep laboratory.


The KBQ showed a relatively good to excellent internal consistency (Cronbach’s α correlation 0.64–0.78) and test–retest reliability (intraclass correlation 0.92). The apnea–hypopnea index (AHI) was significantly correlated with the scores in each category and the total scores of the KBQ. In addition, high risk grouping based on the KBQ predicted an AHI ≥ 5 with a sensitivity of 0.69 and a specificity of 0.83. According to the risk categorization based on the KBQ, 26.1 % subjects were in the high-risk group for OSA which was similar to the prevalence of OSA in a previous large epidemiological study using PSG in Korea.


This is the first study to confirm the usefulness of the BQ as a screening tool for OSA by prioritizing subjects at high risk for OSA in the general population.


Berlin Questionnaire Obstructive sleep apnea Sleep-disordered breathing Polysomnography General population Validity 



This research was supported by a grant of Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Republic of Korea (2009-E33029-00) and by Kyungpook National University Research Fund, 2012.

Conflict of interest

This was not an industry-supported study. The authors have indicated no financial conflicts of interest. There is no off-label or investigational use in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kyunghun Kang
    • 1
  • Ki-Soo Park
    • 2
  • Ji-Eun Kim
    • 3
  • Sung-Wan Kim
    • 4
  • Young-Teak Kim
    • 5
  • Jung-Soo Kim
    • 6
  • Ho-Won Lee
    • 1
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Neurology, School of MedicineKyungpook National UniversityDaeguSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine and Institute of Health SciencesGyeongsang National UniversityGyeongsangnam-doSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of Neurology, School of MedicineCatholic University of DaeguDaeguSouth Korea
  4. 4.Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, School of MedicineKyung Hee UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  5. 5.Division of Chronic Disease ControlKorea Center for Disease Control & PreventionSeoulSouth Korea
  6. 6.Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, School of MedicineKyungpook National UniversityDaeguSouth Korea
  7. 7.Department of Neurology, Brain Science and Engineering InstituteKyungpook National University School of MedicineDaeguSouth Korea

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